Product Care and Use: Flatware
Stainless-steel flatware is dishwasher safe and easy to maintain. Caring for your utensils properly helps preserve their luster and longevity for years to come. Follow the flatware care instructions below for optimal use and maintenance:
- Wash flatware thoroughly before the first use.
- Do not let food remnants remain on your flatware for prolonged periods. Remove food soil immediately, as some foods are harsh to stainless steel and can cause pitting. This includes vinegar, salt, mustard, mayonnaise and more.
- Avoid soaking your flatware for prolonged periods before washing. If food remnants are difficult to remove, let your utensils sit in warm water with mild detergent for no more than 10 minutes, and avoid soaking with aluminum or copper materials. Soaking too long can lead to stains, corrosion or a filmy buildup on your utensils.
- Use chloride and chlorine-free solutions for cleaning.
It’s important to remember that stainless steel is stain resistant but not stain proof. If subjected to unfavorable conditions, it can corrode and tarnish.
Washing Your Flatware
Properly washing your flatware is one of the best ways to prolong its lifespan. Cambridge® flatware is dishwasher safe, and can also be washed by hand.
Whether cleaning stainless-steel flatware by hand or with a dishwasher, you should avoid washing it alongside aluminum or copper items. You should also never use dish detergent that contains harsh chemicals, a lemon scent, bleach or chlorides.
If you are using a dishwasher, there are some guidelines to follow to ensure the safety of your flatware. You should always load forks and spoons with their handles down and avoid “nesting.” Place knives in a separate section with blades pointed down to prevent contact with other metals and potential scratching. It’s best to use a dishwasher-safe flatware basket that separates each piece, especially when dishwashing your plated, chromium or titanium coated products.
Cambridge® recommends Cascade Complete Gel Packs for dishwashing flatware products, as they have additives that help control the pH level of the water. It’s important to follow your dishwasher manufacturer’s instructions to determine the appropriate amount of detergent to use. This is particularly helpful if you have hard or soft water. If you use too little detergent in hard water, your dishwashing process will not be as effective. Meanwhile, if you use too much detergent in soft water, your flatware can rust or etch.
When handwashing flatware, use hot water and mild detergent – Dawn is ideal. Avoid using metal scrub brushes, scrapers or steel wool, and do not use the scouring or abrasive side of your sponge. This can lead to scratches and increases the risk of corrosion.
Drying and Storing Your Flatware
When washing your flatware in the dishwasher, it’s best to use a rinse aid to help remove water and reduce the drying time, which prevents spots and streaks. If you are handwashing your Cambridge® products, you should always avoid air drying. Instead, use a soft cloth to remove moisture from your flatware and store it in a dry place until you’re ready to use it again.
All flatware should be stored in a dry place (such as a drawer) until you’re ready to use it again.
Polishing Your Flatware
When cared for properly, Cambridge® flatware should never need polishing. However, if hard water stains, mineral buildup, water spots or detergent stains appear on your utensils, you can use the following guidelines for polishing:
- Wipe the flatware down with a cloth dipped in vinegar until stains disappear.
- Once the stains are gone, clean each piece to remove the vinegar. This should brighten your flatware and bring its luster back.
- Occasionally, you may choose to use a polish to remove film buildup or staining. Make sure to use polish specifically made for stainless steel.
- Once polished, rinse thoroughly. Do not use stainless-steel polish on flatware that is plated or coated.
- Brushed or satin-finished products can be polished with Scotch-Brite pads. Simply place the utensil between a folded pad and gently move it up and down along the length of the item.
Caring for Cambridge® Knives
Knife blades are sensitive to acidic foods, soaking and air drying. Therefore, it’s important to wash your knives promptly after use and dry them immediately. Avoid storing them in plastic or other wrappings that can trap moisture. You should also keep knives and other hollow-handle flatware away from open flames and other sources of extreme heat. Do not try to sharpen knives that have serrated edges, as this could result in damage to the blade.
Physical Vapor Deposition Flatware Care
Products coated with PVD are easy to care for and can be cleaned in the same way as uncoated stainless steel because the color itself is a hard coating. You should avoid using abrasive pads, such as Scotch-Brite or Brillo pads. These can cause scratching and potentially remove the PVD layer. Additionally, it’s crucial to prevent item-to-item contact in the dishwasher or when handling flatware to minimize the risk of scratches and premature wear.
Frequently Asked Questions
Which “grade” of stainless-steel flatware is best for me?
To qualify as stainless steel, the alloy must contain at least 11.5 percent chromium (also known as chrome). All Cambridge® flatware products use a minimum of 18 percent chromium. We offer three grades of stainless steel, represented by the percentage of chrome within the alloy. Two of these grades contain nickel. Chrome is important because it makes the steel more resistant to corrosion, while nickel provides a softer, silvery tone.
Our stainless-steel grades include:
- 18/10 Stainless – 18 percent chrome and 10 percent nickel.
- 18/8 Stainless – 18 percent chrome and 8 percent nickel.
- 18/0 Stainless – 18 percent chrome and no nickel.
Each of these grades meets the highest quality standards for corrosion resistance and is ideal for use on a regular basis.
What does the term “gauge” mean?
Gauge refers to the thickness of a utensil. For example, dinner forks will feature a higher gauge than salad forks because they are thicker. Products with higher gauges are typically more expensive. However, this doesn’t mean you need to base your purchase decision solely on this measurement – thicker doesn’t always mean the product is better. What really matters is how the selected utensil feels in your hand, your sense of style and your preferred pattern.
What are the different types of flatware finishes?
Finishes can often be a reflection of your lifestyle or the intended use for the flatware. Use this guide as you select the perfect utensils for your table:
- Mirror finishes are shiny, polished and classic.
- Satin finishes have a brushed matte effect that disguises fingerprints and scratches.
- Sanded finishes have a shimmery, frosted appearance. These are often paired with mirrored accents to highlight designs or patterns on the handle.
- Rumbled finishes have a unique, distressed look ideal for complementing vintage and industrial aesthetics.
Many of our flatware patterns are available in various finishes, along with several different color choices.
What do flatware composition terms like 5pc, 20pc and 45pc mean?
These abbreviations refer to the number of utensils in each flatware set. Cambridge® offers sets in the following sizes:
- Five-piece (5pc) sets include a salad fork, dinner fork, dinner knife, soup spoon and teaspoon.
- 20-piece (20pc) sets contain four of the following: salad forks, dinner forks, dinner knives, soup spoons and teaspoons.
- 45-piece (45pc) sets come with eight of the following: salad forks, dinner forks, dinner knives, soup spoons and teaspoons. These also include a serving spoon, slotted spoon, serving fork, butter knife and sugar spoon.
For more information about caring for your flatware, contact us today.
Product Care and Use: Coasters
Keeping your Cambridge® coasters clean and well-maintained is essential to ensure you can enjoy them time and time again. If you’re wondering how to clean coasters, use the care guide below:
Caring for Dolomite Coasters
Cambridge® dolomite coasters are easy to clean. Simply wipe them with a warm, damp cloth and let them air dry. Do not soak or wash coasters in the dishwasher. Dolomite coasters are not microwave or oven safe.
Caring for Marble Coasters
Cleaning marble coasters requires handwashing with a warm, damp cloth. Marble is a porous material, so be advised that red wine stains can be difficult to remove. Do not soak or wash coasters in the dishwasher. Marble coasters are not microwave or oven safe.
Caring for Felted Wool Coasters
To care for your Cambridge® felted wool coasters, hand wash them separate from other materials in cool water. Avoid using bleach, and air dry. Felted wool coasters are not microwave, oven or dishwasher safe.
Product Care and Use: Serveware and Kitchen Accessories
To best preserve natural materials and beautiful finishes, Cambridge® serveware and kitchen accessories are hand-wash only. Avoid strong chemicals like bleach and harsh soaps, and do not submerge your products in water or allow water to sit for extended periods when cleaning serveware and kitchen accessories. For specific products, please refer to the product label and product detail page for instructions about keeping serveware clean.
Cambridge® serveware and kitchen accessories are not dishwasher, microwave or oven safe.
Caring for Marble Serveware & Accessories
Hand wash marble products with a warm, damp cloth. To preserve the luster and finish, avoid strong chemicals like bleach and harsh soaps and do not soak in water. Marble is a porous material, which means red wine stains can be difficult to remove. If sanitizing is needed, we recommend using a food-safe, chlorine-based product.
Cambridge® marble serveware pieces are not dishwasher, oven or stovetop safe. Store mixed material serving boards away from stovetops.
Caring for Wash Serveware & Accessories
When washing wooden serveware, wipe with a damp cloth and allow products to air dry. Do not use harsh chemicals like bleach and strong soaps or soak in water. We recommend using food-grade mineral oil to preserve wood serveware along with a food-safe quaternary ammonium-based product if sanitizing is necessary.
Cambridge® wood serving products are not dishwasher, oven or stovetop safe. Store mixed material serving boards away from stovetops.
Caring for Metal Serveware & Accessories
Hand wash metal products with a gentle detergent and let them air dry. Do not use harsh chemicals like bleach and strong soaps or soak in water. Cambridge® metal serving products are not dishwasher, oven or stovetop safe.
Caring for Enamel Serveware & Accessories
Cambridge® food-safe enamel is easy to care for. Simply wipe serveware clean with a damp cloth and allow the product to air dry. Do not soak enamel items in water or let water sit on them for extended periods. Cambridge® enamel serveware is not dishwasher, microwave or oven safe.
Caring for Terrazzo Serveware & Accessories
To clean Cambridge® terrazzo serveware, wipe the product with a damp cloth and allow it to air dry. Do not soak your serveware pieces in water, and don’t allow water to sit for extended periods. Cambridge® terrazzo is not dishwasher, microwave or oven safe.
Caring for Felted Wool Trivets
When cleaning felted wool trivets, hand wash separately from other materials in warm water. Do not use bleach or tumble dry.
Caring for Cheese Knives
Hand wash your cheese knives using a soft cloth and gentle detergent. Let the products air dry, and do not soak. Do not clean them in the dishwasher or place them in the microwave or oven.
Product Care and Use: Barware
Wondering how to get your bar glasses clean? Some Cambridge® tumblers, mugs, and bar accessories are top-rack dishwasher safe, while other items are hand-wash only. When cleaning barware, wash all products promptly after each use with a gentle, non-abrasive dish detergent. For more barware care information, please refer to the product label and the specific product detail page.
Washing Dishwasher Safe Barware
Products noted as dishwasher-safe barware should be placed in the top rack of your dishwasher. Avoid cleaning stainless steel pieces in the same load as those made from other metals like aluminum. You should also ensure that your barware products are not touching each other in the dishwasher to avoid scratches and premature wear.
Washing Barware by Hand
Barware noted as hand-wash only should be washed with warm, soapy water, then dried immediately with a soft, clean towel. Use a mild detergent and gentle sponge to avoid scratching the product.
Caring for Shakers, Ice Buckets and Insulated Drinkware
Dishwasher-safe products can be placed in the top rack of your dishwasher. Avoid washing stainless steel items in the same load as those made from other metals like aluminum. Keep products from touching each other in the dishwasher to avoid scratches and premature wear.
Barware noted as hand-wash only should be washed with warm soapy water, then dried immediately with a soft, clean towel. Do not soak insulated drinkware in water.
Caring for Ice Buckets
It’s important to clean and dry your ice bucket after every use to avoid bacterial growth. For ice buckets that are hand-wash only, thoroughly scrub the entire bucket, including the interior where the bottom meets the sides. Dry the product immediately after washing.
Using and Caring for Glass Barware
Never use glass items that are visibly damaged, scratched, chipped or cracked, as they can be a safety hazard. You should also avoid hard impacts and sudden, drastic temperature changes (such as pouring a boiling liquid over ice inside glass barware) – both of which can cause breakage.
Dishwasher safe barware can be placed in the top rack of the dishwasher. Avoid cleaning stainless steel products in the same load as products made with other metals such as aluminum. Separate your barware pieces in the dishwasher to avoid breakage, scratches and premature wear.
Etching can occur on glassware due to soft water, high temperatures or too much dish detergent. To avoid this issue, reduce the amount of dishwasher detergent used (but be sure to use at least one tablespoon), keep the water temperature no higher than 140 degrees and load fewer items into the dishwasher at a time to ensure thorough rinsing.
To hand wash glassware, use a non-scratch pad and gentle detergent.
Microwave and Oven Safety
Most Cambridge® bar and drinkware products are not microwave or oven safe. The majority of our products are made with stainless steel and should not be placed in the microwave or oven.